Humour and bellydance don’t often seem to mix. I don’t quite see the reason why. We bellydancers use as many false eyelashes as drag queens, and easily beat them on glitter and sequins. So why don’t we have their talent for not taking things too seriously?
These probably sound like fighting words. In fact, I appreciate how much effort it takes to help the general public understand that oriental dance isn’t just shaking booty. But I think it’s ironic that a dance with so much lightness and flirtatiousness — and joy! — should be talked about in such serious terms.
|Galit doing her shisha dance|
Enter Galit Mersand. And Bellylicious, a one-hour cabaret show that combines stand-up, dance, and, once everyone’s warmed up nice and good, a bit of cultural background about the dance itself. Galit wrote the show to explain oriental dance to the general public, but to her credit, it doesn’t feel particularly teacherly. Well, until she dances raqs al assaya as a disciplining headmistress. Did I mention Galit is in the U.K.? Some parts of her show, you really need a public school education to understand.
This gives you a clue that the show, in the tradition of cabaret, doesn’t shy away from playing with the sexy, cheeky side of the dance. Galit starts out by describing herself as a “serial flirt,” and bellydance is, of course, the perfect artistic outlet for someone who likes to tease. Now, it just so happens that I come from a very, how shall I put it, flirtation-rich culture. It may be the case that I can go on for hours about how underflirty and misflirtatious North American society can be. (Don’t get me started on Germany…) I am so happy to have someone acknowledge that this is a big part of the dance.